The weather started nicely for roses this year…cool and dry with little rain. Our early bloomer roses formed buds profusely and they’re in the middle of their first round exhibition of colors and scents. Then the rain came. A nonstop deluge for a day and a half. There are still some flowers left after the rain, though not much. Hopefully there will be no rain this weekend so I can cut all the wet and spent flowers off before they develop mildew.
After the first round blooming, the roses in the Rugosa family (Rosa Rugosa) will continue producing flowers throughout the season. The Rugosa rose is very winter hardy, fast to establish and grow, reliable performance through the season, fragrant, deer won’t eat them and the bees love them. The down side: they are very thorny and some of the the flowers don’t last longer than two days.
After uneven temperatures and one rainstorm after another, most of the flowers in our garden have just given up or rotted away. Only a few of them have kept blooming. As the years pass, more and more we see pounding rainfall in autumn that frequently strips the trees of what should be their proudly worn, colorful fall coat. Flowers, being the weaker stalk, fall victim first.
But rather than waste words, I should let the photographs tell the story of their endurance.
As a request from my editor and partner in crime who helped dig the plots and mowed the lawn to plant roses that bloom more than once a year. No, I didn’t know when I started this garden that some roses bloom only once in spring. I came from a place where roses bloom all year round (the sub-tropics) so I assumed that it should be the same here. The first couple of roses I planted put on a show of colors in spring then nothing else for the rest of the season. Though they offered nothing else but a home to the birds, they are still worth keeping.
Learning from my mistakes plus his request, the roses I’ve been planting after the first batch are either re-blooming or bloom continuously. Even in the uneven weather we’ve had this year they are still performing well. Blackspot fungus caused some damage to Eden and William Shakespeare roses, but they still try their best to give the garden some color. Here are a few that didn’t get beaten up too badly by the recent storm.
How many books on deer resistant gardens are in the marketplace? Plenty. But I found that 80% of the allegedly deer-proof plants on the list got eaten anyway. If the deer are hungry enough they will eat any plants they can get their teeth into. The few plants that deer won’t touch basically narrow down to three categories: highly scented (mints, sage, lavender…any plants that will emit a strong odor when you just brush against them), poisonous (foxglove, lily of the valley), and the very thorny.
We love roses, especially the fragrant ones. We keep our eyes on the swelling buds in hope of seeing their beautiful colors and enjoying their sweet fragrance. They disappear over night, cleanly nipped off at the bottom of the buds. Our rabbits weren’t suspect, even if they got on their hind legs they couldn’t reach the buds. Only whitetail deer could do this type of damage. Sometimes they add insult to injury by leaving piles of detritus that had passed through their digestive system for us on the lawn. It’s a matter of which perspective you’re looking from; it could be an insult or a gift since the grass grows greener and healthier where their deposits were.
I picked Rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa) for its fragrance and winter hardiness. I soon realized that the deer skip the rugosa buds but ate other rose buds. Even without the mixture of rotten eggs and garlic spray we use to deter them at night they still won’t touch it. The difference is rugosa are pretty thorny, much more thorns than any other roses and highly fragrant.
If you like rose that you don’t have to take care of much, drought tolerant, winter hardy, very fragrant, disease free, deer and insect won’t eat, Rugosa rose is your best choice. A couple of down sides though: all rugosa come with plenty of thorns and the flowers don’t last long, about two days generally. Here are ours…